Opinion

The World Bank's manipulation scandal

kristalina-georgieva-directora-fmi

In the context of the global impact unleashed by the AUKUS security agreement between the United States, Britain and Australia to confront China's expansion in the Indo-Pacific region, another window has opened in the disputes between the United States and China, with the accusation that the Asian giant manipulated the 'Doing Business' ranking report carried out by the World Bank in 2017.

The Economist magazine, published the editorial 'Why the head of the IMF should resign', whose content was reproduced by dozens of media in the world and in that writing, pointed out that an investigation by the law firm WilmerHale determined that the director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva, when she served as executive director of the World Bank (WB), exerted pressure on the Bank's officials to modify economic performance data favourable to China. The scandal broke when the WB decided to examine the Doing Business report in 2020 and hired WilmerHale's lawyers to conduct the investigation, which concluded that "Georgieva pressured staff to move China from 85th to 78th in the Bank's Doing Business rankings".

Contrary to the WilmerHale investigators' version, Shanta Devarajan, director of the WB's Doing Business project in 2018, said that "Georgieva had specified that China's data should be verified without compromising the integrity of the ranking and the changes in China's score were due to correcting coding errors and making decisions on issues that required judgement and at no point did I feel pressured."

In her view, "the accusation lacks credibility" and what is controversial about the allegations is that after Georgieva left office, China's rankings continued to rise to 31st in 2020 and 25th in the unpublished 2021 report, which has not been released by the order of WB president David Malpass. 

A scandal to be examined within the political moves in the struggles for imperial dominance of the world between the US and China. It is clear that behind the accusations against the IMF director lie political manoeuvres by the White House, given that the WB is an institution that since its creation has been controlled by the United States as the largest shareholder.

Therefore, it was from the findings of WilmerHale's investigation that the US has orchestrated a strategy to discredit the 'Doing Business' rankings and accuse China of bribing officials under Georgieva's leadership and thus affect its economic reputation. Georgieva is a prominent Bulgarian economist who, with this scandal, not only sees her personal reputation affected, but also that of the European Union, given that she heads the IMF with European backing, thus sending a message that Brussels is favouring China.

Now, in order to understand more deeply the political network behind the scandal, it is good to point out that one of the main lawyers of this firm has offices in Washington and Boston. He is the famous former director of the FBI in the Bush, Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, Robert Mueller, the same one who was involved in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, which turned out to be a set-up organised from London, and who played a leading role in the investigations into the fallacies of the Saddam Hussein regime's weapons of mass destruction. The firm also includes lawyers Seth Waxman, Ken Salazar and Jamie Gorelick, prominent members of the Democratic Party and close to former President Obama, whose former vice-president is the current occupant of the White House.

That is why former WB chief economist and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz describes the Wilmer-Hale report as "a hit job" and said that "the staff who worked on the 'Doing Business' report did not feel pressured by Georgieva". Also renowned economist Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University's Center for Sustainable Development, has said that the attacks on the IMF chief are based on "anti-China manoeuvring". He concludes that the accusation that she had violated the WB's sanctity is hypocritical in light of US pressure on the bank to send millions of dollars to US-backed regimes, while trying to block funds to cash-strapped governments close to China and Russia." 

@j15mosquera


Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)